|John Wesley Iliff, Sr. (1831-1878)
John Wesley Iliff was the son of Salome Reed
Iliff and Thomas Iliff, a wealthy Ohio cattle
farmer. Born in McLuney, Ohio, on December 18,
1831, John remained in his home state for his
education at Ohio Wesleyan in Delaware, Ohio
(although he did not graduate). At the age of
twenty-six, his father offered him a prosperous
farm to get him started in a career, but John, who
preferred to move west, asked for $500 in cash as a
substitute for the farm.
John Wesley Iliff arrived in Ohio City, Kansas (Territory)
in the spring of 1857, and there opened a mercantile
business. Two years later, in the spring of 1859, he learned
that gold had been discovered in the Colorado region, so
with two partners and enough supplies to establish a new
store, he joined the "Fifty-niners" migration to Denver.
Iliff did not follow the same path of his companions on that
adventure, however, because he never attempted to acquire
his riches by mining. Instead, he found profit in supplying
the needs of miners.
For two years after his arrival in Denver, Iliff operated
a "Groceries, Provisions, and Clothing" store called
"Fenton, Auld and Iliff, Merchants," located at the foot of
Cherry Creek at Larimer and F and G. In 1861, Iliff sold his
mercantile business and joined with a business associate to
buy his first cattle herd. This business venture proved a
lucrative one. In 1862, Iliff established his first ranch on
the South Platte River, northeast of Denver. In 1867, he
established a cow camp in the Wyoming Territory; by 1869,
his cattle operations had enlarged sufficiently to require
him to move his headquarters to Cheyenne, Wyoming. During
the next decade he sold cattle to the railroads for their
construction crews, as well as supplied beef to the United
States government for army detachments in local forts and
Indian reservations, as well a shipping one and two cars a
day to the Chicago Stockyards.
These contracts provided Iliff the funds to buy one
hundred miles of land in Colorado from Julesburg to Greeley
along the South Platte, earning him the title of "Cattle
King." At the peak of this cattle business, Iliff could
travel for a full week on his range without ever seeking
sleeping accommodations outside of one of his ranch
On January 11, 1865, John Wesley Iliff married Sarah
Elizabeth Smith in Ohio City, Kansas. Iliff had met Sara
Smith in Ohio before traveling west. In October, 1865, the
couple had a son, William Seward Iliff. Sarah died only two
months after William's birth, and was buried in Ottawa,
Kansas. William Seward remained with his mother's parents in
Ohio City until about 1869, when he was brought to Cheyenne,
Wyoming, to live with his father.
In 1869, Iliff and Company opened the first bank in
Cheyenne, Wyoming. In 1871, Iliff was made one of the
directors of the National Bank in Cheyenne.
Five years after his first wife's death, John Wesley
Iliff remarried. His new spouse was Elizabeth Sarah Fraser,
from Fitzroy, Ontario. She was employed as a sales
representative for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Iliff
and Elizabeth Fraser met in Denver and they were married in
Chicago, Elizabeth's home prior to moving to Denver, by Rev.
E.J. Goodspeed of the New Baptist Church, on March 3,
Following their brief honeymoon, the couple first
returned to Cheyenne to make their home. Their first child,
Edna, was born in 1871. In 1872, Elizabeth Iliff convinced
her husband to move to Denver because she found the rude
manners of local society and the new voting rights given to
women by the Wyoming legislature repugnant; i.e., she did
not want to serve on a jury with her social inferiors. In
1873, Iliff transferred the headquarters of his cattle
business to Denver. John Jay Fraser, Elizabeth's brother,
and J.W. Snyder, a friend, continued to manage the ranches
in Wyoming after the Iliff family moved to Denver. John
Iliff continued his cattle business while living in Denver,
but he invested in local real estate as well.
In 1875, their second child, Louise, was born. In 1877,
Iliff moved his growing family into the Shaffenburg Mansion
on Eighteenth and Curtis Streets. On December 13, 1877,
their third child, John Wesley Iliff, Jr., was born.
By the end of the year of 1877, John Wesley Iliff, Sr.
had become ill with an obstruction of the gall bladder
created by his many years of drinking alkali water on the
Colorado plains. On February 9, 1878, John Wesley Iliff, Sr.
died at the age of 47 years. His funeral was conducted in
February 1878 by Rev. Thomas Corwin Iliff, a cousin from
Salt Lake City, Utah, and Rev. Ellis of Denver. The body was
buried in Riverside Cemetery where it remained until his
daughter, Louise, had it moved to a family plot at Fairmount
Cemetery in April 1920.
John Wesley Iliff was survived by his first son, William
Seward; his wife, Elizabeth; and three children that he and
Elizabeth had during their eight years of marriage: Edna
(1871-1951); Louise (1875-1966); and John Wesley, Jr.
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| Elizabeth Iliff Warren
Elizabeth Sarah Fraser was born on May 24, 1844 in Fitzroy, Ontario,
Canada. Her father, William Henry Fraser, a member of the Scottish
forces in Canada, and her mother, whose name is unknown, died while
Elizabeth and her younger brother, John Jay Fraser, were young. Shortly
thereafter, the two children moved to Chicago where they lived with
an aunt, Elizabeth Miller, and her husband, William.
By 1868, Elizabeth Fraser was employed as a sales representative
by the Singer Sewing Machine Company and had established an agency
for Singer in Denver, Colorado.
There she met John Wesley Iliff. Two years later
they were married in Chicago with Rev. E.J. Goodspeed, the pastor
of New Baptist Church, officiating.
The new couple established their home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where
John Wesley Iliff's cattle business was headquartered. Elizabeth
found the frontier community of Cheyenne crude. When the Wyoming
legislature passes a law permitting women to vote, she feared having
to serve on a jury with her social inferiors. In 1872, she persuaded
her husband to move to Denver.
When Elizabeth Fraser married John Wesley Iliff, she inherited
a three year old stepson from he husband's previous marriage. During
their marriage of eight years, Elizabeth gave birth to three children:
Edna in 1871, Louise in 1875, and John Wesley, Jr., in 1877.
In 1877, the Iliff family bought the Shaffenburg Mansion. Within
a year of occupying their new residence, John Wesley Iliff, Sr.
died of a gall bladder obstruction. To add to her grief, Elizabeth's
only natural son, John, Jr., died of diphtheria approximately fourteen
months later, on April 9, 1979.
John Wesley Iliff's death left Elizabeth with small children to
raise and one of the largest cattle businesses in the West to manage.
Both tasks she was able to handle with shrewdness and skill. She
also invested in Denver real estate, and had stock in the German
National Bank, the City National Bank in Denver, and the Union Stockyards
in Chicago. Because she was such a good businesswoman, the Iliff
fortune grew during her tenure as administrator. She resigned as
administrator in 1883, after having sold half interest to J.W. Snyder
and his brother, Dudley. In 1898, she sold the last of the Iliff
The Iliff children were educated in schools that taught them the
amenities and disciplines that Elizabeth Iliff admired. In the fall
of 1880, Mrs. Iliff enrolled her two daughters and one stepson in
boarding school before making a tour of Europe herself.
Upon her return to Denver, Elizabeth Iliff met Bishop Henry White
Warren. Warren had presided at his first annual conference in Colorado
during the summer of 1880. He and Elizabeth Iliff were married in
Evans Chapel on December 27, 1883. By 1884, Bishop Warren's episcopal
residence was officially relocated from Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver.
The partnership of Elizabeth Iliff and Bishop Warren was a fortuitous
one for both the Methodist Church and the educational institutions
of Denver. The Bishop was a forceful religious leader and his wife
a generous benefactor to church causes. Besides contributing to
the construction of numerous church buildings, Elizabeth Iliff Warren
was instrumental in establishing the Iliff School of Theology.
According to several accounts, John Wesley Iliff never joined a
church, but he was a highly religious man who hoped to create a
training school for ministers in the Rocky Mountain region. Before
he could realize his dream he died, but his wife fulfilled his wishes.
In 1884, she offered a gift of $100,000 to endow a school of theology
as a graduate department of the University of Denver. Her only conditions
on the gift were that her donation had to be matched by an additional
$50,000 from other sources to endow the theological school, and
that permanent site for the university had to be selected since
the location of the institution had been a problem for some time.
Elizabeth Warren and Bishop Warren were appointed to the board
of trustees of the University of Denver in the same year in which
this offer was made. In 1889, the University of Denver moved to
its permanent site of University Park. In the next three decades,
as the university faced repeated financial crises, Bishop and Elizabeth
Iliff Warren provided transfusions of money to the school's empty
Action on the establishment of a theological school accelerated
rapidly in the late 1880's, when Elizabeth Iliff Warren actually
gave the promised $100,000, and her stepson, William Seward Iliff,
promised $50,000 for the building of Iliff Hall to house the new
Equally troublesome to Elizabeth Iliff Warren and her husband were
their fears about the University of Denver's use of the new graduate
department's endowment and the dean of the Iliff School of Theology,
Arthur Hyslop Briggs. The Warrens were concerned that the university's
trustees would attempt to use the graduate school's funds to solve
the university's fiscal dilemma. Moreover, the dean of the school,
their son-in-law through marriage to Edna Iliff, was in the family's
opinion assuming unwarranted authority in his administration of
To solve these problems, the Warrens "temporarily" closed the Iliff
School of Theology in April, 1900. The school remained closed for
a decade during which time Elizabeth Iliff Warren, with the help
of her husband, negotiated the creation of the school as an independent
entity separate from the University of Denver. The price for this
move was the donation of $25,000 by Elizabeth, $5,000 by the Bishop,
and the cooperation of both individuals in raising $20,000 more
for the university. When the separation occurred in 1903, Mrs. Warren,
her daughter Louise, and her stepson William Seward became trustees
of the School.
In preparation for the School's reopening in 1910, Elizabeth Iliff
Warren provided the funds for the refurbishing of the interior of
Iliff Hall. One way she raised funds for this project was to sell
linens from Puerto Rico missions. Her daughter Louise, and stepson
William supplied new furniture and an organ for the Hall's chapel.
Besides involving Elizabeth Iliff Warren in the
education and religious life of the community, her marriage to Bishop
Warren led her to travel throughout the world to various church
conferences with her husband. The Warrens had no children from their
marriage, but each brought three children from previous marriages
in to the family. On many occasions, one or more of the Warren or
Iliff children would join their parents on trips to the Orient (1886
and 1888), North Africa (1888), South America (1889), or Europe.
On July 12, 1912, Bishop Warren formally retired from his bishopric;
less than two months later, he died in Denver on July 23, 1912.
Mrs. Warren did not travel extensively after the Bishop's death.
On February 14, 1920, eight years after the Bishop's death, Elizabeth
Iliff Warren died in Fitzroy Place, the home she and the Bishop
had build between 1889 and 1893, and named after her birthplace.
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William Seward Iliff, Sr.
William Seward Iliff was the only child born to
John Wesley Iliff and his first wife, Sarah
Elizabeth Smith. Two months after his birth, his
mother died, and William was left in Ohio City,
Kansas to be raised by his maternal grandparents.
Around 1869, John Wesley Iliff returned to Kansas
to take his son to his home and business
headquarters in Cheyenne, Wyoming. There William
lived with his father and his new stepmother,
Elizabeth Fraser Iliff, until 1872 when the family
moved to Denver.
William's father died six years after this move.
Within another year, William was enrolled in the
Chester Military School, in Racine, Wisconsin. He
later transferred to the Pennsylvania Military
Academy in Chester, Pennsylvania.
In 1883, William Seward Iliff began his college career at
the University of Denver. There he became a member of the
University's first football team. In 1888, he accompanied
his stepparents, Bishop Henry White Warren and Elizabeth
Iliff Warren, to China. Upon his return, he graduated from
the University with a B.A. degree.
In 1889, William Iliff became a co-founder of the Iliff
School of Theology, along with his stepmother. When
Elizabeth Iliff Warren supplied $100,000 for the
institution's endowment, William pledged $50,000 for the
construction of Iliff Hall, the main building of the new
graduate department at the University of Denver and a
namesake for his father.
For the remainder of his life, William remained
a staunch supporter of the theological school. He served as a trustee
from 1903 to 1946, and donated an organ to the chapel of Iliff Hall
when the school reopened in 1910 after a ten year closing.
William provided similar help to the University of
Denver. From 1891 until his death in 1946, he served on its
Board of Trustees. During 1926, he led a fundraising drive
to build a football stadium for the University.
In 1888, William began his business career with the City
National Bank of Denver; by 1891, he had become the
vice-president. Between 1892 and 1905, Iliff worked for the
American National Bank. From 1905 to 1910, he was associated
with the public services and utilities of nine western
cities. From 1910 to 1929, William operated a private
investment business. He ended his career with the National
Fuel Company, where he became treasurer and vice-president
until his death on October 19, 1946.
William Seward Iliff was married to Alberta Gearhart
Bloom in the Methodist Episcopal Church in Trinidad,
Colorado in July, 1897. They had three children: John Wesley
Iliff (born 1898); William Seward Iliff, Jr. (born 1900);
and Alberta Iliff (born 1909).
The William S. Iliff Family first lived at Fitzroy Place
while Bishop and Elizabeth Warren traveled. In 1898, they
moved to Grey Gables. In 1899, they moved to their home at
2145 S. Adams.
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Edna Iliff Briggs (1871-1951)
Edna Iliff Briggs was the first child born to
John Wesley Iliff and Elizabeth Fraser Iliff.
Shortly after her birth on September 19, 1871, the
Iliff family moved to Denver. There Edna remained
until 1880, when she and her sister, Louise, were
enrolled in Mrs. Hebb's School in Brighton,
Edna Iliff complete her education at the
University of Denver in 1893 by graduating with a
B.A. degree. During 1897, she was married to Arthur
Hyslop Briggs, then the dean of the newly created
Iliff School of Theology. This marriage proved
troublesome when Edna's husband and her mother
disagreed strenuously over the closing of the
school in 1900.
Elizabeth Iliff Warren refused to continue carrying the
school by supplying the funds for each year's persistent and
substantial deficit. She also found Dean Briggs irksome
because of what in her mind was his unwarranted assumption
Briggs, in turn, was concerned that the faculty's
reputation might be blemished by the closing and insisted
that Elizabeth Iliff Warren declare publicly that the cause
of the closing was a lack of funds rather than a lack of
talent. An unfortunate consequence of this dispute between
Dean Briggs and Elizabeth Iliff Warren was an estrangement
between Edna and her family that lasted the rest of her
Edna Iliff Briggs died in San Francisco in 1951 after a
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Louise Iliff (1875-1966)
Born on August 15, 1875, Louise Iliff was the
second child of the marriage between John Wesley Iliff and Elizabeth
Fraser Iliff. She lost her father at the age of three. Two years
later, she and her older sister, Edna, were placed in Hebb's School
in Brighton, England. When Louise returned to the United States
is uncertain, but she completed her formal education (B.A.) at the
University of Denver in 1917.
Louise Iliff never married. She lived with her
parents in the various homes occupied by the Iliff
and later Warren families.
After he mother's marriage to Bishop Henry White Warren in
1883, she accompanied her parents on many of their trips to
South America, Europe, and the Orient. Louise was also
present when her stepfather, the Bishop, retire from the
ministry in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during the General
Conference of the Methodist Church in 1912.
Affectionately known at the Iliff School of Theology
as "Aunt Louise," Miss Iliff was a major benefactor to the school.
During 1903, she became a member of the Board of Trustees for the
theological school, and she continued in that position until her
death in 1966. In 1909, Louise Iliff was responsible for the acquisition
of Iliff Hall's chapel furniture; in 1911, she donated $50,000 to
create the John Wesley Iliff Lectureship fund which brought scholars
to speak at the institution; and in 1926, she endowed a graduate
fellowship in honor of her mother which provided, at that time,
$400 a year to its recipient for further graduate study at a university
or seminary other than the Iliff School of Theology.
When Louise Iliff died on April 22, 1966, she was the
last surviving member of the school's original Iliff family
benefactors. Her will bequeathed practically her entire
fortune to the school (just under one million dollars), as
well as the Denver home of the Warren family, Fitzroy Place.
In honor of her contribution, the Trustees of the Iliff
School of Theology established a Louise Iliff Visiting
Professorship which provided for world religious leaders to
teach at the seminary.
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Alberta Gearhart Bloom Iliff
Alberta Gearhart Bloom was born on August 16,
1875, to Sarah Thatcher Bloom and Frank G. Bloom.
Her father and uncles were pioneers in the cattle,
banking, and coal businesses around Trinidad,
Colorado. Like John Wesley Iliff, Frank Bloom
prospered from his early start in the use of the
Alberta Bloom attended Trinidad High School and then
studied at the University of Denver.
graduation in 1897, she married William Seward Iliff at the
Methodist Episcopal Church in Trinidad, Colorado, with
Bishop Henry White Warren and Chancellor William Fraser
McDowell of the University of Denver officiating. During
their fifty years of marriage, Albert and her husband had
three children: John Wesley (1898-1980); William Seward, Jr.
(1899-1983); and Alberta (1909- ).
Like the rest of the Iliff family, Alberta Bloom Iliff
contributed in a major way to higher education in Denver.
During 1912, she joined with four other persons to create
the Chapel Guild of the University of Denver. In 1944, she
gave $10,000 anonymously to endow the Frank and Sarah Bloom
Scholarship for a promising high school student in Trinidad,
Colorado who wished to attend the University. Six years
later, Alberta Iliff offered another $3,000 for the school's
In recognition of these services to the University,
Alberta Bloom Iliff was awarded the Alumni Citation and an
honorary doctor of law degree in 1951. In 1967, the
University Alumni Association bestowed upon her its highest
honor, The Evans Award.
Alberta Gearhart Bloom Iliff died on July 16, 1967,
leaving $10,000 to her alma mater and $5,000 to the Iliff
School of Theology.
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John Wesley Iliff, Jr.
John Wesley Iliff, Jr., born on December 13, 1877, was
the third and last child born to John Wesley Iliff and
Elizabeth Fraser Iliff. He died from diphtheria on April 9,
1879, approximately fourteen months after the death of his
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John Wesley Iliff
John Wesley Iliff was born on June 25, 1898, Fitzroy
Place. Like his parents, William Seward Iliff, Sr. and
Alberta Bloom Iliff, he attended the University of Denver
and received a B.A. in 1919 and an M.A. in 1920. Three years
later, John completed a further degree in chemical
engineering from Columbia University in New York City.
John Wesley Iliff was employed by the DuPont Company
shortly after his graduation. He worked first at the
Experimental Station in Wilmington, Delaware, later at the
company's Philadelphia Laboratory, and for three years
served as director of the Marshall Laboratory.
John was married to Marjorie Mathers and had three
daughters: Jean, Sallie, and Jacqueline.
John Wesley Iliff died on February 27, 1980, in
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William Seward Iliff, Jr.
William Seward Iliff, Jr. was born on January
26, 1900. He was the second of three children born
to William Seward Iliff, Sr. and Alberta Bloom
He received the A.B. degree from the
University of Denver in 1921, and a B.S. degree in
Business Administration from Columbia University in
1922. He married Dorothy Keller in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania in 1935. They had two children,
Marybelle and Suzanne.
William, Jr. served briefly in the Army in World War I. He
again served in World War II, being assigned to the Field
Division of the Selective Service System from 1940 to 1946,
during which time he attained the rank of Colonel.
In 1950, he returned to Active Duty as an Assistant to
the Director of Selective Service in Washington, D.C., where
he served until he retired and returned to Denver in 1969.
He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion
of Merit, the Army Commendation Medal with clusters and six
William, Jr. was employed by the Denver National Bank,
Halleck and Howard Lumber Company, and the National Fuel
Company, where he was General Manager and Director. He was
also active in the Denver Junior Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, William, Jr. served as a Trustee of the
Iliff School of Theology, and on the boards of the Friends
of Historical Trinidad and Historic Denver. He held
membership in the Administrative Board of University Park
Methodist Church, Beta Theta Pi, Gamma Sigma, the Denver
Club, and the Denver Athletic Club.
William Seward Iliff, Jr. died on June 14, 1983.
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Thomas Corwin Iliff (1846-1918)
Thomas Corwin Iliff was born on October 26, 1846 in Perry
Country, Ohio. He was a cousin of John Wesley Iliff. (John
Wesley Iliff also had a brother named Thomas Corwin.)
In 1862, at age seventeen, he enlisted as a private,
fighting under General Sherman in the Civil War. In 1868,
while a student at Ohio University, he was granted a license
to preach. In 1870, upon his graduation, he was admitted to
the Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Rev. Iliff married Mary A. Robinson in 1871. They had
three daughters and one son.
Rev. Iliff served as a missionary in Utah and the Rocky
Mountain regions from 1870 to 1901. From 1909 to 1917, he
worked as a financial manager and lecturer. He was also a
Trustee of the Iliff School of Theology.
Rev. Thomas Corwin Iliff, D.D. died on February 23, 1918,
in Denver, and was buried in Salt Lake City, Utah.
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Alberta Iliff Shattuck (1909- )
Alberta Iliff Shattuck was born on November 24,
1909, in Denver. She was the third child and only
daughter of William Seward Iliff and Alberta
Gearhart Bloom Iliff. Her brothers were John Wesley
Iliff and William Seward Iliff, Jr. She attended
University Park Elementary School, Morey Junior
High School, and Kent School for Girls (then
located at 933 Sherman Street), graduating in
In the fall of 1927, she entered Smith College
in Northhampton, Massachusetts, spending her first
two years there.
Her last two years were spent at the University of Denver,
where she majored in chemistry, graduating in 1931. She
continued there as a graduate assistant under Dr. Reuben G.
Gustafson, receiving the Master of Science degree in the
summer of 1932. The title of her thesis was "A Critical
Study of the Kramer-Tisdall Cobalti-Nitrite Method for the
Determination of Potassium in Whole Blood Ash."
Because of the Depression, she could not afford to enter
the C.U. School of Medicine. However, she was able to get a
job at the Child Research Council located there, which
permitted her to take classes without paying tuition. In
order to qualify for free tuition, she was given the title
of Assistant Professor in Biochemistry and taught freshman
medical students for one week each spring. She received her
Ph.D. from C.U. in 1942. Her dissertation was entitled, "A
Study of the Effect of Altitude on Certain Physiological
Functions of Human Subjects." Dr. Iliff continued with the
Child Research Council until 1959, when she resigned and
married Dr. Robert C. Shattuck. Soon after, she adopted his
two sons, Robert McDee Shattuck, age 19, and Donald McKeown
Shattuck, age 17.
When Alberta's brother Seward resigned from the Iliff
Board of Trustees, she became a member, where she continues
to serve. She has also belonged to various organizations.
While at D.U., she was a member of the sorority Pi Beta Phi;
a pre-med group, Mu Beta Kappa; and a national chemistry
organization, Iota Sigma Pi. While at C.U., she became a
member of a national scientific society, Sigma Xi, and while
at the Child Research Council, a member of the American
Federation of Biological Sciences.
She was also a member of the St. Luke's Hospital
Auxiliary, the National Society of the Daughters of the
American Revolution, and the Denver Fortnightly Club (1959).
Her interests include travel (to such places as Italy,
Greece, France, West Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, the
British Isles, New Zealand, Australia, China, the Panama
Canal, Puerto Rico, Canada, Hawaii, Alaska, and numerous
places in the continental U.S.), photography, skiing, and